40. Memorandum for the Record1 2


  • Kidnapping of U.S. Officials/Dependents

Mr. Macomber said that he had talked with the Secretary on April 13 about the problem of kidnapping. The Secretary seemed convinced that for the present we should follow an ad hoc policy on kidnappings. He mentioned that Willy Brandt had suggested the, desirability of our Ambassadors consulting with their colleagues at post. The Secretary added that he agreed that we should proceed to explore the possibilities of action in the international organizations, OAS or UNGA, and agreed further that we should continue to sharpen and improve our own security capability.

Mr. Hurwitch said that ARA was exploring the possibilities of giving more or better assistance to local police forces in various Latin American countries. He noted that we had made several overtures to selected OAS Ambassadors and that EUR was planning to talk with the Soviets about the possibility of their dissuading the Cubans from encouraging kidnapping. Mr. Hurwitch also said that he had discussed with Ambassador Java the possibility of taking up with certain of his OAS colleagues the proposition that it would be better to exile rather than imprison “political prisoners.”

Mr. Macomber said that he planned to sign off on an airgram to selected posts abroad outlining a four-phase alert plan with graduated protective responses. The addressees were being asked for comments. Meanwhile, Mr. Gentile was to be working on a “mobile reserve” project that would include the people and equipment available here in Washington for dispatch to troubled areas when the need arose. In connection with this project SY was asked to indicate what resources were already on hand at Washington and at post and what we should have in the future. The range of equipment would be rather broad and would include armor plate, improved radio facilities, bullet-proof vests, tear gas and other protective or deterrent devices.

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970-73, POL 17 US. Confidential. The memorandum, drafted by J. Stewart Cottman, Special Assistant to Macomber, is incomplete. No complete version was found.
  2. Deputy Under Secretary of State for Administration Macomber and Secretary of State Rogers discussed the problem of kidnapping. The Secretary decided that for the present the Department of State should follow an ad hoc policy on kidnappings and should collaborate with other international organizations to devise additional methods to improve security capabilities.